To the satisfaction of student government leaders at John Carroll University, the student government leaders on our campus, in collaboration with 28 other Jesuit colleges and universities, have joined the National Jesuit Student Government Association. At its meeting on Tuesday, March 25, JCU’s Student Union ratified the constitution to make its involvement with NJSGA official. Before the passage, seven of the eight Jesuit institutions had officially joined the association.
The National Jesuit Student Government Association is a national association that aims to advocate on behalf of students. Unlike SU, which speaks for our campus alone, the NJSGA is dedicated to representing the community of Jesuit students across the country. In its efforts to advocate for Jesuit students, the NJGSA focuses on the “enhancement of educational, social and cultural environments on college campuses and across the country.”
NJSGA operates similarly to Congress. If SU votes favorably to implement the NJSGA, JCU will grant one representative to speak on behalf of the student population at the annual meeting as a voting member. At these yearly meetings, each school will be able to give updates on their particular campuses as well as collaborate on pressing matters that affect the collegiate Jesuit community as a whole.
According to SU president Tim Ficke, if JCU becomes a part of the NJGSA, either the SU president or another member of the executive board will represent the University. Due to the fact that the issues that arise on each campus are unique, the NJGSA provides a “formalized mechanism” for students to voice their concerns and use the resource pool of other universities to accomplish their goals.
When a Jesuit college or university decides to join the NJGSA, as JCU has done, it is saying that it agrees with the constitution and will adopt it in its own existing constitution.
Ficke said he thinks that joining the NJGSA is an extremely positive step for the advancement of JCU’s campus, although it is still yet to be determined how involved the University will be.
“Involvement with the NJGSA will be a great think tank for ideas,” Ficke said. “Because our involvement is so new, our involvement at first will be slow because we are unsure of where we want it to go. In the future, I think that our involvement will grow.”
Ficke said that along with being an excellent way to generate ideas, involvement with NJGSA will be a way to gauge the effectiveness of policy decisions made at SU.
“When there’s a policy change, we would be able to compare it to other Jesuit universities,” said Ficke.
Although the ratification was passed, some senators voiced concerns about joining NJGSA.
Senior Senator Emily Stolfer voiced her concern with an over-exertion of power of the NJGSA in regards to the decisions made on their behalf, and thought that the implementation of the association could lead to “peer pressure” on behalf the national body of colleges and universities.
However, Ficke said that JCU’s involvement with the NJGSA can be as involved or distanced as the students choose to be. Until JCU SU begins to become involved with the association regularly, it is difficult to predict what the future holds.